GT Voice: Indian billionaire’s claims reflect ignorance of China
Published: Sep 28, 2022 10:43 PM
Lujiazui, a financial zone in Shanghai Photo: VCG

Lujiazui, a financial zone in Shanghai Photo: VCG

Speaking at a conference in Singapore on Tuesday, Indian billionaire Gautam Adani claimed that China, the foremost champion of globalization, "will feel increasingly isolated" and would find "it hard to bounce back from a period of economic weakness," CNN reported on Tuesday.

Adani, who runs one of India's top conglomerates, has accumulated massive wealth, making him the richest person in India, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index data, but that doesn't mean the Indian billionaire understands China well. Adani's comments on China have proved that he is totally ignorant of China's economy.

Adani's wealth has skyrocketed, but amid his business empire's aggressive expansion, the billionaire himself has faced some controversy. For example, the Financial Times said that Adani's mushrooming empire has become a focus of criticism for those who believe that capital is being concentrated in the hands of a few corporate titans at the expense of India's middle class. Critics said the concentration of economic power in a few family-run conglomerates is creating monopolies and stifling competition.

Income inequality is shockingly entrenched in today's Indian society. As per the World Inequality Report 2022, India is among the most unequal countries in the world. The top 10 percent and top 1 percent in India hold 57 percent and 22 percent of the total national income, respectively, while the bottom 50 percent's share has fallen to 13 percent, the Economic Times reported. 

China and India have different social and economic structures. Adani can achieve commercial success in India but he is not familiar with how the Chinese economy works.

There is no need to deny that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the Chinese economy in many ways, but the direction of China's development remains unchanged. The necessity of equitable income distribution has been reiterated time and again for many years in China. An equitable distribution of social wealth helps pave the way for more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable growth.

The sound and stable development of China's economy is very important to the recovery of the global economy and especially to emerging market economies in Asia. It comes as no surprise that Adani cannot understand the economic logic behind China's development and makes pessimistic expectations for China's sustainable growth, which results from a more equitable distribution of social wealth.

As China marches toward its second centennial goal, the focus of promoting people's well-being will be put on boosting common prosperity to pursue high-quality development. Common prosperity is an essential requirement of socialism and a key feature of Chinese-style modernization. 

Adani cannot understand the Chinese-style modernization. Instead, he focuses too much on a nation's GDP growth rates. It doesn't make too much sense to measure a country's economy by simply using the pace of GDP growth if the high quality of economic growth is ignored.

Adani has chosen to ignore a series of economic metrics when he claimed that China "will feel increasingly isolated." China's actual use of foreign direct investment (FDI) reached 892.7 billion yuan ($123.4 billion) in the first eight months of 2022, up 16.4 percent year-on-year. The continued rise in FDI in China is proof that the Chinese market has remained an attractive destination for global investment.

In August, China's exports extended double-digit growth, underscoring the resilience of the world's biggest trading nation at a time when global trade faces pressure amid disrupted supply chains. China's "friend circle" of trade partners is gradually expanding, effectively disproving Adani's claim. The Indian billionaire should abandon his prejudice against Chinese economy.

For a long time, China has been an important contributor to the global economy. The country will continue to pursue a high-level opening-up and work with other partners to act as a strong supporter of globalization. China will not develop in isolation of the world and nor will the world develop without China.